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MRCB to coax all displaced squatters to accept EDL relocation plan

JOHOR BARU: Only 126 of the 424 squatter families displaced by the Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway (EDL) project have accepted the relocation and compensation plan proposed by project developer MRCB Lingkaran Selatan Sdn Bhd.

MRCB executive director Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid said today (April 8) some of the 126 families had already moved to the Desa Mutiara People's Housing Project (PPR), the temporary accommodation site 8km away from their original homes. MRCB Lingkaran Selatan is a wholly owned subsidiary of MRCB.

"We will continue to coax and appeal to the rest of the families to accept the relocation and compensation offer to enable us to complete the EDL project on schedule in February 2012," he told reporters.

The Desa Mutiara PPR is a temporary accommodation site for the displaced squatters from five villages -- Kampung Desa Melayu, Kampung Desa Jaya, Kampung

Desa Makmur, Kampung Tengah and Kampung Belantik -- pending the construction of their permanent homes at the Majidee Camp.

Ahmad Zaki said the 8.1km EDL project, costing RM977 million, was most critical to efforts to resolve traffic congestion in the Johor Baru city centre and surrounding areas.

Ahmad Zaki said the EDL was a vital infrastructure in helping to open up the "Eastern Corridor" of Johor Baru which would be developed under the Iskandar Malaysia development plan.

He said MRCB would continue to work with the state and federal governments to resolve the relocation of the squatters displaced by the construction of the EDL, adding that the project could be delayed if the squatter relocation was unsettled.

Each of the displaced squatter families was offered a monthly rental subsidy of RM380 for three years and a relocation fee of RM2,000, he said, adding that the company had allocated RM10 million for the squatter relocation plan.

The EDL will connect the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at the Sultan Ismail Building in Bukit Chagar to the North-South Expressway via the Pandan Interchange.

Ahmad Zaki said 30% of the EDL construction had been completed and expressed confidence that the highway could be completed according to schedule in February 2012.

The MRCB would have the concession governing the EDL for 30 years, excluding the four years of construction, he said.

MRCB project manager Shahruddin Mohamed said only users of the EDL who entered and exited Singapore via the CIQ Complex at the Sultan Ismail Building would be charged toll. -- Bernama

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